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Men may be at higher risk for heart attacks related to cholesterol

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Middle-aged men with high cholesterol may be at a higher risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems, according to a new study. Research found that men were far more likely to have a first heart attack than women, even if both had the same elevated levels of cholesterol.

The study was published in the September issue of the journal Epidemiology and took data from more than 40,000 men and women under the age of 60. The findings indicated that men were three times more likely to have a first heart attack than women. Lab tests revealed that both men and women could have high cholesterol, but the issues could be different. To combat these high rates of heart attacks, it is important for men to consider lifestyle changes.

"In middle age, our results suggest that high cholesterol is much more detrimental for men than for women, and that prevention and treatment of high cholesterol in middle-aged men have a great potential to reduce the occurrence of heart attacks among men," lead researcher Erik Madssen, PhD, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim stated.

Many of the changes that men should make are focused on diet and exercise. Men who came from families with histories of heart problems or who were smokers were the most at risk and should seek consistent cholesterol testing. Some researchers credited women's lower rates to the positive effects of hormones like estrogen.

However, while middle-aged women were less likely to have a heart attack from high cholesterol, they are still at considerable risk if they have high cholesterol. Over a lifetime, women's cardiovascular risk can exceed that of men, according to the American Heart Association.

Cholesterol levels
It is very important to keep track of cholesterol levels, particularly low-density lipoprotein, commonly known as "bad cholesterol." LDL is a major factor in heart disease and is often the target of drugs that aim to lower cholesterol. How low it should be is determined by the individual risk of each person who is tested, according to the Mayo Clinic.

For those who want to avoid a trip to the doctor or the clinic, a lab test online may be the answer. Cholesterol tests, blood tests and many other types of certified lab tests can be administered at a nearby lab.

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